CANADA STOCKS-Valeant surges, but energy, banks keep TSX down

Tue Sep 4, 2012 5:14pm EDT
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* TSX closes down 7.56 points, or 0.06 percent, at 11,941.70
    * Banks and oil companies push index lower
    * Crude, Europe add to unease
    * Valeant surges 15 pct after announcing acquisition

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
slightly lower on Tuesday, weighed down by heavyweight energy
and bank stocks that offset surging Valeant Pharmaceuticals
International Inc, which said it would buy a rival.
    Energy companies were hit especially hard, as the price of
oil slipped and investors questioned when crude would settle on
a longer-term direction. 
    "There's too many moving parts to get a fix on where energy
prices go from here," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and
vice-president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was the single
biggest weight on the index, down 2.57 percent at C$29.22.
Pipeline company Enbridge Inc slipped 1.55 percent to
C$38.21, the second biggest weight.
    Banks also pushed lower, with Royal Bank of Canada 
down 0.56 percent at C$54.86. The banks gained last week on
surprising robust profit and dividend increases. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 7.56 points, or 0.06 percent, at
    The commodity-related stocks retreated even as investors
expect details on European bond-buying plans that would likely
support demand for resources.
    "You would think that commodity stocks and the cyclical
stocks would try to rally strongly on the back of that and
you're not seeing that kind of participation from these
sectors," said Sid Mokhtari, director of institutional equity
research at CIBC World Markets.
    That is partly because miners and oil companies have already
enjoyed a recent rally, he said. 
    "People bought ahead of the news - the buy the rumor, sell
the news assumption," he said.
    The energy sector gained 7.3 percent in the past three
months, the best performance of any of the top 10 groups on the
    Shares of Valeant, the largest publicly traded drug maker in
Canada, jumped almost 15 percent to close at C$57.94 after it
announced a $2.6 billion deal to take over U.S. dermatology
competitor Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. 
    Valeant has been on an acquisition spree since its 2010
takeover by Biovail Corp, preferring growth through acquisitions
to heavily spending on research.
    "Valeant has a history of making fairly prudent acquisitions
and especially ones that are accretive right off the bat. This
one seems to be along those lines as well, so that would account
for the big surge in the stock today," Picardo said.
    But it was a single bright spot in a rather dreary day for
Canadian equities.
    Canadian National Railway Co slipped 0.52 percent
to C$89.73 after it announced it would expand its fleet of
freight cars and containers, but did not say how much it would
    Research In Motion Ltd dipped 0.46 percent to
C$6.54. New data showed the percentage of its shares being
borrowed in the expectation of a future fall neared record
highs, while an analyst warned that BlackBerry sales have likely
been light in recent months.
    Most major European stock indexes fell more than 1 percent
on Tuesday after rising on Monday when North American markets
were closed for the Labour Day holiday. 
    Adding to worries, manufacturing data out of the United
States showed a third straight month of contraction in August.